St. Gertrude’s Church Celebrates Advent and Christmas
by Virginia Berg-Taylor
November 28, 2021, St. Gertrude’s Church kicked off the Christmas season with the lighting of the Advent wreath at Holy Mass. Advent means “arrival,” but in relation to the Christian faith it refers to the period of four weeks (specifically four Sundays) that lead up to Christmas Day. It is a time of anticipation and reflection for all Christians. The Advent wreath with its four candles (three are purple and one is rose-colored) are adorned with fresh greenery and lit each Sunday. Advent is a time to share the true meaning of Christmas with the arrival of the infant Jesus.
On December 11th at noon, a special nationwide Rosary Rally was held in front of the Parish Hall and was well-attended. The public Rosary served as a reminder to keep Christ in Christmas. After the Rosary, a luncheon was provided for everyone who attended. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the Church’s young participating families, the Church exterior, the Parish Hall, and Church grounds were decorated for the Christmas Season. A big thank you goes out to all the families who participated in decorating the exterior of the Church and its grounds.
Viva Christo Rey was the joyful shout of parishioners who attended a special 6:00 a.m., December 12 performance celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The music was provided by the various choirs. The traditional Spanish music was thoroughly enjoyed by all the attendees. Fr. Dale is hoping this leads to a musical concert next year utilizing all of the Church’s musicians and its choirs.
This year the Hispanic tradition of Los Posadas took place beginning Thursday, December 16th through Friday, December 24th. The mission churches that were involved were San Antonio de Padua, Cleveland; San Santiago, Alto de Talco; Santa Teresa del Niño Jesus, El Turquillo; Santo Niño, Monte Aplanado; St. Gertrude’s Church, Mora; Nuestra Señora del Carmen, El Carmen; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Holman; Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rainsville and, on the ninth night, St. Gertrude’s Church on Christmas Eve at 6:00 p.m. The Mayordomos from each mission church provided snacks and hot drinks after the peregrinos (travelers) were invited into the churches. A note of thanks to Deacon Eloy Roybal, who has been responsible for the organizing of the beautiful tradition and continuation of Los Posadas and the very old and beautiful Spanish hymns that are sung at each church. What a wonderful tradition to pass on to future generations. Our lives are Advent, and life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.
Parishioners were privileged to attend a Nativity play on Monday, December 20th, at 6:00 p.m. following Los Posadas at St. Gertrude’s Church. Catechumens, with the help of their teachers and parents, performed a re-enactment of the first Christmas. The Church altar was decorated beautifully for Christmas, as was the crèche. The children wore wonderful costumes as they portrayed Joseph and Mary with the infant Jesus and also angels, shepherds, and royal kings. Afterwards parishioners sang Christmas carols.
During the month of December, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) and Father Dale Craig, SOLT, and St. Gertrude’s Church welcomed two young ladies who volunteered as lay apostle missionaries to come and assist the parish with its many activities and education. Nicole Brockman comes from Kalispell and Missoula, Montana; she graduated from the University of Montana. She felt called to spend nine months in Ireland working with NET (National Evangelization Team) Ministries and then here in Mora. Hope Rubera, who grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. She was called to service here in Mora for a year. She works with adults and kids with different mental and physical difficulties through God’s gift of equine-assisted therapy. She also had the great privilege of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain during her freshman year. Both of them have been a great asset to the parish and are being sponsored by SOLT.
St. Gertrude’s looks forward to the New Year and religious education classes being held once again. Everyone is invited to participate in the upcoming Epiphany Family Day on Friday, January 21st at 6:00 p.m. in St. Gertrude’s Parish Hall. Dinner will be provided along with games, prizes, and talks. Families are invited to participate. After dinner, groups (parents, young adult, high and middle school, and the very young) will learn about Epiphany of the Heart. If you’re interested in helping or donating to the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Hope at 860-920-2405.
Please join St. Gertrude’s Church not only for its events, but everyone is welcome to attend Mass. Mass times are found on St. Gertrude’s website: stgertrudemora.org. A Happy and Blessed New Year to Everyone!